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Blog / Mackintosh the Innovator

Mackintosh the Innovator 05 Oct 2016
by Ian Elder

Mackintosh the Innovator is a great title for the Creative Mackintosh Festival. Perhaps because when we look back at Mackintosh we tend to see him as a figure from history and we run the risk of forgetting how innovative he was. As part of this festival we have worked with Wireframe Immersive 3D to create a Virtual Reality environment which enables people to see his work in a new way, to manipulate it and to think about how he would have expressed his talent today. Surely someone so talented would have succeeded today, would still have had an unmistakable design signature. Would simply have produced great design with current technologies.

As Chair of Glasgow Mackintosh I was invited by the St Enoch’s Centre to participate in an Art and Design competition which they ran with Glasgow Schools. The proposition to the schools participating was not to reproduce something that he had done, but to think about his design perspective and apply that to their ideas. As part of their briefing they visited the exhibitions at The Lighthouse including Paul Smith and we talked to them about design perspective, about the process and about the end product or output.

When I came to judge the work we had a huge range of submissions, from parks to street lights to paintings, cars, footwear, fashion and textiles, the breadth of ideas was fantastic. The winners were announced on 5th October, and it clearly demonstrated how great design can influence others.

This is what prompted another strand of the Festival, which is to create a design tree. If we take Mackintosh as the starting point can we identify other designers from Scotland or who trained in Scotland who have also created inspirational design. For me it would be Dawson Sellar, who I met as an entrant to The Lighthouses Design Impact Award, for his work on the Porsche 928, especially the interior.

What we are looking for is the name of the designer, the name of the design and why it inspires you. Please send your submissions to us at and we will add them to the design tree.

Glasgow School's Mackintosh Art & Design Competition
Mackintosh Festival at The Lighthouse
Exhibitions on now
Mackintosh Festival Website

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